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  • Gobi Manchurian

    TOOLS: You’ll need a small mixing bowl; a food processor; a medium mixing bowl; a kadhai, wok, or saucepan; a plate lined with a paper towel; and a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan.

    My fondest food memories in India involve Chinese food, believe it or not. There, Indo-Chinese cuisine has a loyal following—a combination of Chinese cooking techniques with Indian spices. This dish is a favorite of mine whenever visiting Delhi.

    • 6 whole dried red chiles
    • ⅓ cup /80 mL boiling water
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and divided
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and divided
    • ¾ cup /90 g all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot, divided
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
    • 1½ teaspoons Garam Masala
    • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
    • ¾ cup plus 1 teaspoon /180 mL room-temperature water, divided
    • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons /470 mL vegetable oil, divided
    • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into about 20 large florets
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon tomato ketchup
    • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
    • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
    • 1 large green bell pepper, roughly chopped
    • 1–3 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced lengthwise
    • 3 scallions, thinly sliced with greens
    • Brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the dried chiles and the boiling water. Set aside to soften while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind together ½ the ginger and 2 of the garlic cloves into a smooth paste.
    3. Transfer the paste from Step 2 to a medium mixing bowl. Add the flour, the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, the red chile powder, the black and white pepper, 1 teaspoon of the Garam Masala, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and stir well. Slowly add the ¾ cup / 180 mL of room-temperature water, ¼ cup / 60 mL at a time, to the mixing bowl. Continue stirring until all the ingredients blend together, forming a batter. Set aside.
    4. In a heavy-bottomed kadhai or wok over medium–high heat, warm the 2 cups / 470 mL of oil. Test the oil by adding 1 cumin seed. If it sizzles and immediately comes to the top, the oil is ready.
    5. Add 8 florets of the cauliflower at a time to the batter. Using your hand, stir gently until the florets are evenly coated. Allow the excess batter to drip off, and gently drop the florets into the oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
    6. Repeat with the remaining florets until all have been battered and cooked. Set aside.
    7. In the bowl of the food processor, grind the chiles and their soaking water from Step 1. Return the chile paste to the small mixing bowl and add the soy sauce, the vinegar, the ketchup, the brown sugar, the remaining 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of room-temperature water. Stir well and set aside.
    8. Slice the remaining ginger into into 2-inch / 5-cm matchsticks and thinly slice the remaining 3 cloves of garlic.
    9. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Carefully add the onion and cook for 4 minutes, until slightly browned. Add the sliced ginger and garlic from the previous step and cook for 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and fresh chiles to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.
    10. Raise the heat to medium–high, add the sauce from Step 7, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 2 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
    11. Carefully add the cauliflower to the sauté pan and simmer, uncovered and stirring gently, for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the scallions, sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon of Garam Masala, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes, allowing the cauliflower to absorb the flavors.
    12. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the brown or white basmati rice.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.